Dusters double up Summertown
Having already clinched spot in the semifinals of the Southern Athletic Fields Invitational, the Marshall County Dusters (3-1) wrapped up pool play by defeating the Summertown Eagles 8-4 in six innings on Saturday afternoon at Columbia Central High School.
Marshall County controlled the game from start to finish and built an 8-1 lead through the first five and a half innings of play. Summertown then mounted a late rally and cut the deficit to 8-4 in the bottom of the sixth before the game was called due to time constraints.
Starting pitcher Bubba Houghton made a rare appearance on the mound, but provided the Dusters with five plus quality innings, as he allowed three runs during that span on seven hits and four walks to go along with five strikeouts. Chandler Harmon then came on in relief of Houghton and yielded one run in one inning of work on one hit and two walks.
"I knew Bubba could throw strikes. He worked all winter long on his pitching, but we didn't get to use him that much during the high school season," said Marshall County coach Mike Reese.
The Dusters, meanwhile, pounded out 10 hits against three Eagle hurlers. Houghton (2 RBI) and Cameron Isley (1 RBI) tallied two hits apiece to lead Marshall County offensively, while Josh McKnight (2 RBI), Lane Whitesell (2 RBI), Wilson Limbaugh (1 RBI), Connor Bush, Harmon, and Ethan Evans each had one hit.
Bryce Giles (2 RBI) and Bradley Huckaba notched two hits apiece to pace Summertown at the plate. Eagle starting pitcher Timmy Beard suffered the loss and allowed five runs over two plus innings on six hits and three walks.
The Dusters got off to a fast start and raced out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning. Bush belted a leadoff triple to deep centerfield before scoring on an Eagle error while Isley reached first base on the play. After Whitesell was hit by a pitch, Harmon singled to load the bases with no outs. Houghton then drove in Isley with a RBI fielder's choice before Whitesell came home on a RBI groundout by Limbaugh.
In the top of the second, Marshall County tallied another run to open up a 4-0 advantage. Following consecutive walks by Bryce Wunderlin and Bush, Isley singled to load the bases with two outs before Whitesell plated Wunderlin with a RBI infield single.
The Dusters stretched their lead to 5-0 in the top of the third when Josh McKnight drew a RBI walk after Marshall County loaded the bases with no outs on a Houghton single, a walk by Limbaugh, and an Evans bunt single.
Summertown trimmed the deficit to 5-1 in the bottom of the fourth on a bases loaded walk by Giles, but the Dusters notched a run in the top of the fifth with the help of an error and a RBI single by McKnight to forge a 6-1 advantage.
Marshall County then tacked on two more runs in the top of the sixth on the strength of a Wunderlin walk, a double by Isley, a Whitesell RBI groundout, a walk by Harmon, and a Houghton RBI single to extend their lead to 8-1.
The Eagles made things interesting in the bottom of the sixth, as they plated three runs in the frame to narrow the gap to 8-4 and still had the bases loaded with two outs. Harmon finally quelled the Summertown uprising by striking out Camden Perry to end the game.